Business and Human Rights Campaigner
Tara is the Business and Human Rights Campaigner for Amnesty International Canada. She supports territory, land and environmental rights defenders and works to hold governments and companies accountable for human rights abuses.
Blog Posts by Tara Scurr
Workers in the home delivery business were already facing precarious labor conditions before the COVID-19 pandemic. A lack of basic protections for ‘gig economy’ workers in warehouses and home delivery roles has taken on a new urgency as the very workers who ensure that food, medicines, and other essential goods are shipped out on time and delivered to your door are exposed to greater risks to their own health and safety.
Amnesty’s new global campaign calls on the most powerful companies in the home delivery sector, starting with Amazon, to guarantee the rights of workers, including health, safety, and labor rights, such as the right to join a union.
It may surprise you to know that lithium-ion batteries – the kind found in many electronics such as laptops, cell phones and electric cars – contribute to human rights abuses around the world. Over the last few years, Amnesty’s researchers have documented child labour, environmental harms and violations of the rights of Indigenous peoples in the countries where battery minerals are mined. We have challenged the world's leading electronics and automobile makers to develop a battery untainted by human rights abuses.
We invite you to join our campaign for an ‘ethical’ rechargeable battery.
In the six years since the Mount Polley tailings pond burst through its containment dam, a small group of committed community and Indigenous activists have inspired people across Canada to take action in solidarity with them. Their goal is to call everyone to justice who made decisions that led to the disaster on August 4, 2014.
They also want the Province of British Columbia to suspend the company’s permit to pipe mine waste-water directly into Quesnel Lake. Since April, thousands of Amnesty activists have signed our petition to the BC government calling on them to pull the discharge pipes from Quesnel Lake.
Scientists researching the impacts of the disaster on Quesnel Lake tell us the pressure is working: the province recently re-started a water testing group to investigate troubling reports of ongoing contamination of the lake.
But more than ever, pressure is needed to protect Quesnel Lake from further contamination.
Workers’ concerns ignored at Canadian meat packing plants and hundreds made sick. Amazon employees fired for speaking out about conditions on warehouse floors. Energy workers expected to continue working despite outbreaks at mine sites and an inability to physically distance. Construction workers unable to wash their hands on the job because there is no running water. Mining considered an essential service that employs workers from across the country while small communities struggle to keep away visitors. These are some of the dire stories being shared across Canada as the pandemic reveals the impact of business decisions on workers and communities. While the situation varies from community to community, and some companies have taken steps to suspend operations in order to protect workers and communities, there is growing concern that not all companies are truly respecting human rights through this crisis.